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A long walk back from the edge

Spinal injured Major to take part in marathon


After Major Phil Packer was run over and suffered severe spinal injuries during a mortar attack in Iraq he was told he would never walk again.

But after months of physiotherapy at the Army's rehabilitation centre at Headley Court, Epsom, he is going to try to walk a marathon on crutches.

When the mortar alarm sounded at his forward base in Basra, he jumped from the vehicle he was driving and tried to take cover.

But he was crushed by the front and back wheels as the vehicle rolled over him, bruising his heart, breaking ribs and injuring the base of his spine.

After enduring the pain of damaged nerves and numerous operations, he slowly regained some movement in his legs. Now his rehabilitation will be put to the test by a long two weeks in April.

That is the time it will take to complete the 26.2 miles of the Flora London Marathon, a task for which he hopes to raise £1 million for the charity Help For Heroes.

It will need immense courage and willpower to make his legs do what he wants, step by step and mile after mile. But, as he says, "it will be worth it".

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Irwin Mitchell's Military Claims team has been supporting Major Packer over the last year with his campaign to raise money for Help for Heroes. Andrew Buckham from the team said: "Phil Packer is an inspiration to everyone and his bid to complete the London Marathon by walking the course simply illustrates his determination and strength of character."

Visit Phil's website at http://www.philpacker.com/